Accountability in the Workplace – Why it’s broken and how to fix it

There are two reasons why workplaces lack accountability:

  1. Inept leadership
  2. Dysfunctional culture

The reasons why the leadership is inept at creating accountability are:

  1. Inability or unwillingness to confront the issue effectively.
  2. They’ve set the low standard themselves by their own example.
  3. They don’t know how to reset the corporate mindset, or improve the culture.
  4. They don’t have the authority, removed by culture or stupid policy.

The reasons why the culture is dysfunctional are:

  1. The leaders have tolerated it for too long without stepping up.
  2. The culture is ingrained over a very long term.
  3. The impact of overly risk adverse leaders and HR departments.
  4. Lack of care for the situation – by leaders and employees.

The cost of this lack of accountability directly impacts reputation, productivity, morale, talent retention, profit and sustainability.

How to Fix Accountability

Leaders look in the mirror and accept their primary role in the problem, and:

  1. Reset their own commitments and accountability in line with the values, vision and mission, first and foremost.
  2. Acquire the skills of conducting the difficult conversations that are required.
  3. Own up to (declare) their role in allowing the situation to occur or persist in the first place.
  4. Create an organisation-wide plan that focuses first on the culture, then the processes and structure that create accountability.
  5. Execute with change improvement techniques that work, namely
    1. Realistic planning;
    2. Effective continuous communication – coaching, not command;
    3. Persistence and patience;
    4. People and outcomes focus, not process focus; and
  6. Be helpful and respectful in sending those who don’t want to be there, to somewhere better for them.

The root causes of the reasons for a lack of accountability are fear, habits and ignorance.

The remedies that empower the solution are courage, better practice and learning.

Without that nothing will change except eventual demise or drastic disruption.

I’d like to hear your opinion.

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